interior design project

Interior Design Rules of Thumb!

We all know that interior design is a complex and time-consuming process. But what most people don’t realize is how much planning goes into the project before the actual designing can even start.

The design process does have some decorating rules – ‘A Rule of Thumb’ as some designers say.

There’s a couple of basic rules that will help guide you and start you off on the right footing.

Table of Contents

Start with a design concept in mind

Interior Design Budget

Before you can even think about choosing paint colors, fabrics, furniture, or accessories for your room—or lighting fixtures, window treatments, or other details—you need to have an idea of what type of space you want to create.

Will it be formal? Casual? A mix of both? What are the rules governing its use (e.g., will it be primarily used as a dining room)? How many people will live in this space regularly? Who are they likely to be (i.e., children vs. adults)? What is your budget?

It’s critical to have a general concept of the design style you want to pursue. Still, it’s also crucial to keep in mind that interior decorating isn’t something that happens instantly.

The room in which you live or work may already define much of your decorating choices. For example, if you want to tone down your traditional living room, you may choose to select a rustic coffee table instead of an ornate one.

Interior Designer Top Tip

interior design rules of thumb

Interior designers recommend that individuals start their projects with some solid research before committing to one particular style.

It’s important to get the basics (e.g., I need this piece of art on that wall) out of the way before you start making final decisions. You need to have a clear idea of what kind of room you want to create, and then from there, you can build upon that design concept as time goes on.

Planning Tips

The planning stage is all about hammering out the details for your project, so it’s vital to keep track of all your decisions. Annotating your sketches and taking measurements is a great way to keep track of your design progress, especially when you’re ready to start purchasing materials.

The planning stage can be fun and creative, but it’s also easy to get overwhelmed and lose motivation if you don’t know what you want in place before you start looking for decor.

If you get started on the right foot, you’ll be able to think more clearly about what your room needs and how it will look once all of your pieces are in place.

Interior design is a very involved task; make sure you know what the project entails before diving in headfirst. Especially when renovating a kitchen or bathroom.

interior design project
decorating rules of thumb

The 60-30-10 Rule

What is the 60-30-10 Rule? It’s a well-known decor guideline that allows you to build a color scheme for a room. The rule stipulates that 60% of the space should be the main color, 30% should be the secondary hue or texture, and 10% should be an accent.


Interior Design Budget

You must have a solid concept of your budget and stick to it as much as possible when thinking about your design costs as you will need to budget for unexpectancies.

You may find when you tear down a wall (as you want that open-plan living) that you may need to budget for a new steel beam. Or as you take off the tiles in the bathroom that the plasterboard needs replacing and plastering afterward.

There are so many eventualities when renovating, and you need to be prepared for going over budget.

Design Services & Design Experts

If you don’t know how to begin your project, consider hiring a professional interior decorator/ design team to help you. Or, if you want to expand your property, get an architect.

They will help you budget and design proposals featuring new and radical ideas on what your home could potentially be.

How to Start Your Design Project

interior design project


Firstly, I’d head to Pinterest or Instagram to get some inspiration. You may know what you want from your space already, but you might see a design online that adds something extra or sparks joy in you to push yourself on the initial design.

Decide what vibe you are trying to plan for—formal or casual, cozy or minimal living. This will influence the pieces of furniture you choose, other accent pieces (like table lamps), and the color palette.


Next, research different interior design styles to get ideas for your space.

There are so many different design styles, and everyone is attracted to one or a combination.


Look at the measurements of your room and begin sketching out different elements you want to be included in the room—focal points, furniture placement, etc. Grab yourself a portable handbook, whether that’s a notebook or an iPad. This will help keep all your ideas in one place and all the measurements for when you need them.

decorating rules of thumb

Your Budget

Decide on a budget for your project, and do some research on prices for materials so you can see if this budget will work with your plan.

Natural Light

When designing any type of space, natural light should always be considered. It makes everything feel brighter and fresher.

You can use windows, skylights, mirrors to bring lots of sunlight into your house.

Light colors like white and cream tend to reflect light better than darker hues. So they are perfect for spaces where there isn’t too much direct sun exposure.

Or if adding extra natural light isn’t an option, think about light fixtures and how you can light up your room for that hygge feel. (Think about floor lamps and wall lights rather than overhead lighting – unless designing a dining room)

Start Designing

Now, begin drawing up a specific floor plan for the furniture pieces you want in the room—make sure to take measurements and note what hardware is needed for proper installation.

You could use a 3D Model computer software to get a full picture look of what your space will look like.

Scour the internet for what they have to offer (our blog is full of wonderful products that we recommend) or if there might have to be some carpentry work done.

Choosing Paint & Color Scheme

A color scheme using the color wheel is the simplest method to pick out your space’s colors.

Choosing a color scheme is hard. You always want to make sure you don’t get too carried away. Because many different shades and tones can be used in one room, using the 60-30-10 rule will be a massive help.

If you’re painting walls white, this will be your main neutral color. It’s universal and goes with anything; for this reason, white is often considered the most popular interior design paint color.

But be careful.

For example, you want a contemporary space that is white and spacious, basically an inviting space. You pick up the paint cards and say, ‘I like that shade of white!’. But, once you put that sample pot on the wall, it doesn’t look the same.

This is down to your natural light and how the sun hits your house. Study your room and figure out your natural light situation and where artificial light can be used.


Check out our article on White Paint to find out more.

Here are some of the Design Styles to guide you


Today’s modern design, frequently mistaken for contemporary style, is built on a design movement that flourished in the early 1900s. Use modern style pieces and decorate with natural materials, neutral or earthy tones, and the elimination of needless ornamentation.


Minimalist interior design is an alternative to modern interior design, though it has some distinct characteristics. It entails utilizing the basic necessities to create a simple and uncluttered environment. It’s characterized by simplicity, clean lines, and a monochrome palette with an accent color.


This is a style that evokes the turn-of-the-century industrial age. It emphasizes the bold use of exposed steel with distressed wooden features, which are frequently enhanced by exposed brick walls. Accentuated copper tones are now a standard feature of modern versions. Industrial décor is frequently rough and aged in terms of feel.


Warm, soothing, and optimistic. The nautical decor style (also known as coastal or cottage décor) reflects the beach house lifestyle in New England. This interior design concept is based on a white or sand-colored background with a blue accent color. Seashells in transparent vases, jute ropes, rowing oars, and sailboats.


Scandinavian furniture is simple, modern, and purposeful. Scandinavian furniture is elegant, contemporary, and useful since it has gentleness, playful accent colors, and a balance of engineered and natural materials. Many Scandinavian designs are characterized by fluent lines, attention to object proportions, and populist appeal. The foundation colors of Scandinavian properties are usually white with gray tones.


Its carefree and daring attitude defines the bohemian style. It has a creative use of lush patterns and vibrant hues, particularly those with crimson or purple tones. But more modern Boho is creams and whites with getting color and texture from Rattan and the emergence of Cane furniture. The key is to present a deliberately “messy” appearance meticulously. For a warm environment, add textiles (throws, pillows, rugs, tapestry).


The definition of maximalism is “more of everything,” which means more colors, textiles, and accessories. To avoid your décor from seeming chaotic, choose a few common hues or designs to repeat across the space.


What are the 7 elements of interior design?

Here are the 7 Design Tips for creating your dream space.

  • Space
  • Lines
  • Form or Shape
  • Pattern
  • Light
  • Color
  • Texture

What is the rule of 3 in design?

The rule of 3 states that things arranged in a variety of odd numbers are better than even-numbered groupings.

When designing a room, What is the most important factor for you?

For me, the most important factor in the process of designing a room is lighting. The style and type of lighting vary according to the style and purpose of the room. Once you have this knowledge down, you will find designing a room simpler to work with your personality.